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The Party Goers come to town

The musicians and singers of Los Parranderos will bring the sounds of Venezuela to the Langley Seniors Centre on Saturday. - submitted photo
The musicians and singers of Los Parranderos will bring the sounds of Venezuela to the Langley Seniors Centre on Saturday.
— image credit: submitted photo

Los Parranderos are giving a free performance at the Langley Seniors Centre, on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m.

The group’s name is close in meaning to the expression ‘The Party Goers’ and refers to happiness, life and good disposition to enjoy life.

Los Parranderos are “happy people with musical homesickness,” said Elizabeth Baena, adding that the singers and musicians “are thrilled to share their rhythms and enthusiasm with Vancouver and its guests.”

They sing ‘Aguinaldos’ and ‘Gaitas’ (Venezuelan Christmas carols).

Aguinaldos is a derived form of the Spanish “Villancicos”, with lyrics and music adapted to the customs and daily life of each Venezuelan region. gaitas were born of the need of the people from Zulia State, in Venezuela.

Aguinaldos and gaitas are usually accompanied by the cuatro, a four-stringed guitar played by Elizabeth Baena, Mari Pighini, Beatriz Garmendia, the tambor (drum) by Richard Villalobos, the chapero (an improvised tambourine) played by Sophie Lavieri, furro or furruco, (a single note bass) played by Patricia Ochoa.

The group formed in 1996 when a small circle of friends, all of them Venezuelan immigrants, decided to revive the Venezuelan tradition of going door-to-door singing Christmas carols to their neighbours. That’s how this amateur musical group saw its origins and started playing different rhythms of the Venezuela’s Christmas musical repertoire.

Nowadays, the group consists of 16 to 20 performers.

Their director is Maria Luces who assumed that role  on the strength of her experience in several choirs in Venezuela for more than 18 years. Luces’ dedication and patience is credited for shaping this group of amateur musicians.

Los Parranderos will also perform on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Other performances are at UBC’s St. John’s school, Minoru Senior Centre.

As members of the group felt the need to expand its repertoire beyond Christmas themes, they have included music from the rest of Latin America as well. The idea gave birth to Fusion Latina, Vancouver’s Latin American Choir, with a wider goal of promoting music from all over the Latin America region.

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